Tag Archives: Mitch McConnell

Sen. McConnell is a jokester supreme

Mitch McConnell just slays me. He knocks me out. He throws out jokes when he’s trying to be serious.

Such as when he writes an essay on Politico.com and urges Democrats to stop obstructing Donald Trump’s myriad appointments.

Yep, the Senate’s chief obstructionist masquerading as its majority leader, is scolding Democrats for playing politics.

You can read Sen. McConnell’s essay here.

I want to have my say for just a moment.

Majority Leader McConnell has set a new standard for obstruction. He rolled it out in early 2016 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. The president at the time, Barack Obama, was empowered — by the U.S. Constitution — to nominate someone to replace Justice Scalia.

President Obama sought to do so. He nominated federal judge Merrick Garland — a superb jurist, a centrist — to join the SCOTUS.

McConnell’s response? He would not allow Garland to have so much as a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He wouldn’t meet with the nominee. He instructed his GOP colleagues to stiff Garland.

In fact, McConnell made clear his intention within hours of Justice Scalia’s death. He said a “lame duck” president shouldn’t be allowed to fulfill his duty. We were going to have an election that year, McConnell said, and we should let the next president fill that vacancy.

It was a tremendous gamble on McConnell’s part. He was hoping for a Republican to be elected president. It turned out to be Donald Trump, who then won the election that November.

So, for McConnell today to excoriate Democrats for “playing politics” with these appointments — in the words of a former boss of mine — is like the Happy Hooker, Xaviera Hollander, lecturing someone on the virtues of chastity.

Senate majority leader obstructs yet again

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who famously obstructed President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court from getting a hearing, is at it again.

He now has obstructed a resolution calling for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings into “collusion” with the Russians to the public. He doesn’t want us — you and me — to see how Mueller concluded that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign didn’t collude with Russian election attackers.

McConnell earned his obstructionist stripes when in 2016 he blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He played hardball politics. Yes, that gamble paid off with Trump’s election as president later that year. Trump then nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s seat and, by golly, Justice Gorsuch got confirmed by the Senate.

What is going on here? Might it be that there’s something in the findings that McConnell doesn’t want us to see? Is the public going to draw a different conclusion than the one Mueller reportedly reached?

The House of Representatives voted 420-0 to release the findings. The president has said he has no objection to the public getting a full look at what Mueller concluded and how he reached his conclusion. Attorney General William Barr said he intends to release the results in a matter of “weeks, not months.”

But the Senate GOP boss says no can do?

Knock it off, Mitch. Get with the program. The public wants to see the results. It is demanding it of you and your Republican cohorts. You may stop obstructing at any moment.

Listen to your GOP ‘friends,’ Mr. President; sign on to the deal

OK, Mr. President. It’s time for you to deal with reality — for a change.

Those congressional Republicans who have had your back on this fight over The Wall and other border security matters, need to be heeded. They want you to sign on to the budget deal they worked out with their Democratic “friends.”

The deal doesn’t contain every single dollar you want to build The Wall along our border with Mexico. But it does contain billions of dollars on assorted other border security measures.

Trust me on this: You do not want another partial government shutdown. Nor do you want to invoke a phony “national emergency,” because in my view, there is no such emergency on our southern border.

The deal isn’t perfect. No compromise ever produces perfection. For crying out loud, Mr. President, that’s the nature of compromise. You say you’re the best deal maker in human history, so you ought to know how it works, assuming you’re as good as you say you are.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants you to sign on. So do other GOP senators and House members.

Let’s face the stark reality, Mr. President: They know more about politics and government that you do, or you ever will know . . . as near as I can tell.

Listen to these individuals. For once in your life!

McConnell now seeks ‘bipartanship’?

Mitch McConnell’s lack of self-awareness takes my breath away.

The U.S. Senate majority leader has penned an op-ed in the Washington Post that demands that congressional Democrats “work with us” instead of putting “partisan politics ahead of country.”

Interesting, yes? You bet it is!

Let’s review part of the record for just a brief moment.

  • McConnell once declared his intention to make Barack H. Obama a “one-term president.” In fact, he said it would be his No. 1 priority while leading the Senate Republican caucus.
  • He has remained shamefully silent about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
  • This is my favorite: McConnell said that he would not allow President Obama to nominate anyone to replace the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He made that proclamation mere hours after Justice Scalia died in Texas. Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed Scalia, but McConnell would not allow even a hearing to examine Garland’s exemplary judicial credentials. Obama was in the final full year of the presidency and McConnell gambled — successfully, it turned out — on the hope that a Republican would win the 2016 presidential election.

This Senate Republican leader now accuses Democrats of “playing politics” over The Wall and causing the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Astonishing. I need to catch my breath.

Mitch McConnell is MIA

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s absence at Donald Trump’s Rose Garden press conference was so very conspicuous it has become a serious back story in the government shutdown drama that goes on and on and on.

The Senate majority leader once all but guaranteed that there wouldn’t be a partial shutting down of the government. Indeed, he and the president reportedly agreed on a deal approved by the Senate unanimously to fund the government until early February.

Except the measure didn’t have money for The Wall that Trump wants to build along our southern border. Trump got a gut full from right wing talkers, so he changed his mind.

Yep. He stabbed the majority leader in the back.

Which makes me wonder if McConnell and Trump are at each other’s throats yet again.

He wasn’t standing with the president as Trump talked about the meeting he had with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. He hasn’t spoken publicly for several days about the status of the shutdown, other than to say the Senate would not take up the House bill that Pelosi promised to send to the Senate.

Aren’t he and Trump big-time pals these days? Don’t they stand together in favor of The Wall and opposed to any measure that doesn’t include money to build it?

He should have been in the Rose Garden. Mitch McConnell is missing in action. Given that no one seems able to talk sense to the president, then maybe McConnell is planning a mutiny.

‘It would make me look foolish’

A statement attributed to Donald Trump screams loudly to us at a couple of levels.

The president said that accepting a deal to reopen the entire federal government from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer would “make me look foolish.”

I’ll set aside the snickering that developed at the idea that the president long ago began looking “foolish” by uttering the things he says and doing the things he does.

The idea of negotiating a deal with House and Senate Democrats is not a “foolish” gesture. Brokering such a deal would be the result of compromise, which is an essential element of good, smart and effective governance.

As I heard Speaker Pelosi today when she took the gavel from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, I thought I heard her say she planned to return a Republican-sponsored and endorsed measure to the Senate; she intends to force senators to vote on a measure they already have approved and which the president pledged initially to sign into law.

You know what happened. When the president made that pledge, which included agreeing to sign a bill that didn’t provide money for The Wall, right-wing talkers went nuts. They accused him of betraying the GOP base. Hearing that, Trump back-pedaled. He reversed himself. He stuck a shiv in the back of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom said the president would support the spending bill that passed the Senate by a virtually unanimous vote.

Foolish? Does that make Donald Trump look foolish? Yeah. It does.

The bigger issue is whether he’s willing to wheel and deal with Democrats.

Pelosi said she wants senators to re-endorse the measure they already have backed. The pressure now is on them and on the president.

Negotiation is part of legislating. It’s part of governing. It is the essence of how you move the country forward. Refusing to consider a compromise is the prescription for looking “foolish.”

Senate GOP should rethink resistance to Mueller protection

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated he has faith that Donald Trump won’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

I do believe McConnell has more faith in the president acting rationally than many of his fellow Americans possess.

Which brings me to the Senate’s latest refusal to enact legislation would protect Mueller from a foolish presidential act.

Mueller is closing in on the end of his lengthy investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives who interfered in our election. He’s also closing in on Trump and his closest aides and associates.

Is there any way to guarantee that the president won’t do something profoundly foolhardy by, say, firing Mueller? Of course not! It’s because Trump cannot be pigeonholed, he can’t be measured by any of the standard methods.

That ought to give Senate Republicans reason enough to enact this legislation that would prevent Trump from doing something stupid. Think of it: If the president does deliver an act of profound stupidity by firing Mueller, he delivers to Congress a tailor-made case for obstruction of justice that, I do believe, is an impeachable offense.

Is the Senate majority leader really ready for that event? He cannot predict it won’t happen without some legislative protection for Robert Mueller.

What happened to bipartisanship, Mr. Majority Leader?

Hey, hold on a minute. Maybe for two or three.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to work toward a more “bipartisan” atmosphere in the Senate. So, what does Mr. Bipartisan do? He blocked a “bipartisan” bill that seeks to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from the whims and foolish acts of a president under siege.

McConnell said the bill is not necessary. Why? Because he takes Donald Trump at his word that the president won’t fire Mueller, who’s up to his eyeballs investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Yes, McConnell believes the president. He takes him at his word. He says that, by golly, if the president pledges something that he’s true to his word.

Is the majority leader serious? Has he swilled one mouthful too many of the Trump Kool-Aid?

Well, it appears that not all GOP senators are on board. Lame-duck Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has promised to block every judicial appointment that comes to the Senate for as long as he continues to serve in that congressional chamber.

McConnell’s pledge to seek a more bipartisan approach — which seemed hollow when he made it — now has been exposed as just another political platitude.

Imagine that.

McConnell wants what? Bipartisanship? For real?

I gave myself one of those proverbial forehead slaps when I heard this tidbit: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants there to be more “bipartisanship” in the next Congress.

Huh? He said what? This comes in the form of an op-ed column from the obstructionist in chief on Capitol Hill?

It took my breath away.

This is the fellow who said in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Uh, huh. He said that. The 2012 presidential election, of course, dashed Leader McConnell’s dream. President Obama won re-election.

Then came the congressional Republican caucuses singular effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They staged countless votes in the Senate and the House. They came up short. Who led the charge? Mitch did, that’s who.

And then we had the obstruction to end all obstructions in early 2016. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon on the court, died suddenly in Texas. Justice Scalia’s body had barely gotten cold when McConnell declared that President Obama would not get the chance to replace him.

Oh sure, the president can nominate someone, McConnell said, but Republicans were not going to move the nomination forward. Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland — a supremely qualified man — only to watch his nomination wither and die. We had a presidential election to conclude and McConnell banked on the hope that a Republican would be elected. His gamble paid off with Donald Trump’s election.

Now the majority leader wants a more bipartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Pardon me while I bust out laughing.

The next Congress will be split. Democrats will control the House; Republicans will lead the Senate. Bipartisanship certainly is the preferred way to govern.

That such a call would come from the U.S. Senate’s leading obstructionist gives “gall” a bad name.

Civility needs a boost after hours

I have taken my share of shots at U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the years. I dislike the Republican’s obstructionism, his policies, the way he runs the Senate, his partisanship … whatever.

However, he did not deserve to be harangued, harassed and hassled while he was dining with his wife in a Louisville, Ky., restaurant.

In the name of political civility, why cannot we let these public officials — even those in leadership positions — enjoy some private time with their loved ones?

McConnell was called a “traitor.” Other diners clapped. Yet another bystander reportedly grabbed the senator’s to-go box and dumped its contents on the sidewalk.

This kind of thing has been happening of late. I find it unacceptable.

Keep it civil

Look, I’ve been railing against the lack of civility in our public discourse. This kind of activity against congressional leaders — mostly against Republican leaders — runs totally counter to those of us out here who bemoan this uncivil behavior.

I will post this commentary on my blog, which then will appear on social media platforms. Some friends of mine — notably those on the left/progressive side — are going to take umbrage at my comments.

They might say that “this is war” in the current public political debate. To which I’ll respond: No … it isn’t “war”; those of us who’ve been to war know the difference between the real thing and a political disagreement.

Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, did not deserve to be treated so shabbily. If we are going to lament the lack of civility in our current political climate, then many of us need to start behaving in a manner that promotes it.

I will keep calling for a more civil discussion for as long as I am able. What happened to Sen. McConnell and his wife is counterproductive in the extreme.

Those who want change in Washington can act in a different manner. They can vote.